Jonah Lawson

About My Study Abroad Program

Major/Minor: Ad/PR
Program: Yonsei International Summer School
Location: Seoul, Korea
Email: jonahl@live.unc.edu
Term: Summer 2021

 

Why did you choose to study abroad and how did you select your program?
As a low income student, traveling before college has been hard, so I knew I wanted to take advantage of all the scholarships currently available for me. I wanted to see the world, and the best time to do that is now. It’s actually funny because originally I was not supposed to go to Seoul, but I couldn’t be happier that I did. South Korea was one if the few countries that could be traveled to under covid, and Yonsei University offered many great classes for my major, so I decided to choose them. Although I made my decision based on available classes, I ended up falling in love with the country due to it’s beautiful nature, amazing cuisine, and it’s overall exciting atmosphere.

 

What did you learn about yourself?
I honestly feel I grew a lot as a person through my study abroad. I learned that I could live independently for a summer, without help from anyone. I learned that I could adapt to a completely different culture with a completely different language and thrive.most importantly, I learned that no matter where I go, I can make friends and connections that will last a lifetime.

 

What is one of your favorite memories from your program?
To select just one memory is extremely difficult, but I guess I would say all the food. Prices in Korea are lower compared to the states, and the food tastes much better too. Seoul seems to have thousands of restaurants, which isn’t surprising considering its almost 10 million population. I ate dim sum in China town, I tried the best seafood I have ever eaten on Jeju Island, and I shared plenty of unlimited hot pot and Korean Barbecue with friends. What I live most about food in Korea is that it’s meant to be shared with the table, so everyone gets to try so many different things with each meal. It also means that there’s a lot more interaction and bonding between everyone that’s eating.

 

What advice do you have for future study abroad students?
Studying abroad was the best experience of my life, despite a few set backs. I was originally planning on going to Sweden, but due to Covid, that wasn’t possible. Because of this, I went into Korea with pretty much no knowledge of what to expect. It’s important to quickly learn and adapt to your new situation. You have a phone, so use it to look up what you need to know. I think the most important thing is to be bold. I spent my first week not doing very much because I was nervous to meet new people, but when I finally came out of my shell I remembered that everyone was in the same boat I was. We were all new here and looking for friends, so there’s no reason to be shy.

 

How do you identify?
LGBTQ+, Covenant Scholars, Scholarship Recipient

 

Is there any advice you would give to other students who share your identity?
If you are a low-income student, such as a covenant scholar, remember your limits. At first, I choose friends who were a lot wealthier than me and because of that I spent more than my budget permitted. I quickly realized I needed to branch out and find people with similar constraints, and that’s ok! I found plenty of people who were in a similar spot and we made sure we stayed on budget.

Memories

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